Charlotte Balbier

fancy fantasy. a natural woodland wedding inspired by lord of the rings – christina & john

August 13th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (33)

When planning a wedding, couples are free to draw inspiration from anything they like, from the setting to the season, as well as their loves and passions.

With that in mind, today’s brides and groom, Christina and John, decided on a magical outdoor woodland wedding followed by an evening reception that was a nod to Bilbo Baggins’s 111th birthday party from Lord of the Rings, a novel they’re both big fans of. And why not?

The result is a very personal, fun and captivating big day that’s brimming with beautiful handmade décor, natural blooms and individual touches.

So get those reading glasses on and feast your eyes on this enchanting celebration.

With images by Jonathan Stockton Photography.

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (2)

christina says: We got engaged in spring 2014 while we were travelling around Scotland in our campervan which John converted himself. We have a strong emotional connection to Scotland, it being the place we met and where many of our friends still live, so we had been on a two week campervan trip the year previously already. At that time John had recently discovered his passion for photography and so I had been left feeling a bit like a ‘photography widow’, with John spending more time with his camera than with me.

So when we went this time, John made a particular effort to put the camera down and really be with me. But he couldn’t resist incorporating photography in the proposal. The first time the sun came out, he set up the tripod for a selfie of us in front of a waterfall, but then at the last moment dropped to one knee and asked me to marry him. So our proposal is captured on camera too, though we both look a little bedraggled.

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (6)

We married on the 13th June 2015. The 13th may be unlucky for some, but we decided that it would be our lucky date, marrying on the 13th day and in our 13th year of being together.

The Garden Station in Langley, Northumberland, as our chosen venue. By that point we had our hearts set on a ceremony in a natural setting, so when we visited the Garden Station we fell in love with the quirky, pretty English country garden of the station itself, and the potential for a woodland ceremony and night-time do just put a stamp on it.

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (7)

For the ceremony we envisioned a magical, natural woodland theme that would reflect our love of the woods and of nature, with birds singing all around us. To complement the venue our reception was a vintage afternoon tea party.

For the evening we were inspired by Bilbo Baggins’s 111th birthday party from Lord of the Rings. We both love the books and films and we wanted our wedding to reflect that element of us, without going down the route of an actual ‘themed’ wedding with fancy dress etc. And who could throw a better party than hobbits, with their love of good food and drink and music and all things merry.

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (41)

There were nods to our love of geeky fantasy running all through our wedding. I gave John a leaf of lothlorien brooch to wear as a kilt pin as a wedding gift and his best man wore the Hand of the King pin from Game of Thrones on his lapel. One of the readers in our ceremony even wished that the Force be with us.

There was no real colour scheme, as there was always going to be multi-coloured flowers all around and the station itself is full of beautiful pastel colours.

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (8)

I wore a custom designed dress in ivory silk and lace from the amazing Leigh Hetherington of Old Eldon Square, Newcastle. She was fantastic and couldn’t do enough to create the perfect dress for me. I loved that it was custom made for me, so no other bride in the world will have the same dress, and to know that it was handmade here, locally, rather than in some factory on the other side of the world is great. When it got cold in the evening I wore a beautiful handmade silk and cashmere capelet by Lizzy Lemon.

On the wedding day my hair was done by our friend Douglas, of Rainbow Room International in Stirling, assisted by Jill. It was lovely to have my friends come do my hair as it was a great way to stay relaxed in the morning. Jill also made the lucky horseshoe for us, which actually came from her own horse, Trooper, making it all the more special.

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (10)

John wore full highland dress with a kilt in Modern Robertson Hunting tartan, as his grandfather was a Reid. We were going to hire his outfit but he ended up loving his kilt so much we had it made for him by Hector Russell in Edinburgh. John’s sgian dubh was a stunning piece of craftsmanship from Comrie Crafts, Pitlochrie, in bog oak and silver which I had engraved with our surname in Farsi script, bringing together his celtic and his Persian heritage. Slaters supplied the best man’s highland wear and our dads’ tailcoats.

My sister, who was our bridesmaid, wore a Dessy gown in Amethyst, which we customised with lace sleeves and a lace belt.

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (14)

On the wedding day I travelled to the venue in Max, our campervan all decked out in flowers and ribbons. My sister’s partner acted as chauffeur and the whole family piled in. It was lovely, like a throwback to going on family holidays when we were children.

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (15)

As John is a wedding photographer himself, but was forbidden to touch a camera on the day, finding the right photographer was really important and quite a challenge. We were so happy when we found the awesome Jonathan Stockton to do our photography on the day. His style was perfect for us, with his mixture of relaxed reportage and more polished images.

We already loved his photography, but after we met him it was his personality and his enthusiasm for our wedding that really meant there was no question. It’s so important that you get on with your photographer, so you can relax and be yourself in front of the camera and with Jonathan we knew we’d found someone we could consider a friend and a wedding guest, not just our photographer. We couldn’t have made a better choice as can be seen by the beautiful dreamy pictures he produced. He managed to even make the rain look beautiful.

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (17)

I’ve always loved flowers and secretly wish I was a florist so I decided to do my own flowers. It was a bit of a gamble as I’d never done wedding flowers before. I think I did alright with my beautiful handtied bouquet of ivory roses, lisianthis, hyacinths and hydrangeas with delphiniums and marguerite daisies from our own garden. I also made my sister’s bouquets and the buttonnieres and corsages for the wedding party.

Our wedding was very much DIY, virtually nothing except the guys’ clothes escaped some kind of customisation.

We had yards of gorgeous bunting sewn by me and all the ladies in our two families and jam jars, which I decorated with hessian, jute and lace with flowers and tea lights in and around the ‘hobbit’ tent. Our stationary, including our invites, our ‘time-capsule’ guestbook and the design on the chalkboards was designed and provided by Lizzy Lemon, who also happens to be my very talented sister!

As favours we potted up little baby succulent plants and also gave mini bottles of mead, as apparently the word ‘honeymoon’ comes from the ancient Nordic tradition of making newlyweds drink mead for a month after the wedding. John also made some little bags of tasty beef jerky.

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (20)

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (21)

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (19)

My lovely friend Roseann is a superstar baker and cake decorator and made our stunning four tiered wedding cake. It was two tiers carrot cake and two tiers fruitcake which we served with cheese. The cake was decorated with beautiful sugar roses and pink toadstools, in keeping with the garden and woodland theme, and topped with a frog couple made from Fimo by me.

For our wedding breakfast had afternoon tea with scones cakes and sandwiches and big jars of Pimms, served in vintage china teacups. In the evening we kept it rustic with a hog roast, veggie chilli and lamb tagine.

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (29)

To provide the entertainment we booked a fantastic local ceilidh band from Northumberland called, Real to Reel. Recommended by friends of my parents we contacted them and outlined our wedding plans, including our inspiration being Bilbo’s Birthday party. It turns out the band leader actually played at the after party of the Hobbit premiere in London, which was just an amazing coincidence. They even learned to play the tune from the film for us, which was so great.

They were absolutely amazing, with a really good sound and celidh caller and they took everything in their stride, even carrying on playing when the lights went out due to a generator failure which led to a lovely moment where everyone was dancing just by the light of mobile phone torches.

As John is half Iranian, his brother organised a belly dancer to dance as well, which created a really great fusion of cultures.

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (32)

A really special part of the day was our humanist ceremony in the woods, conducted by Anna Foster who is a registered celebrant with the British Humanist Association. She was fantastic! She worked with the two of us to create a really unique and personal ceremony, that included some beautiful elements like a celtic handfasting and jumping the broom, as well as a tasting of honey, which is an ancient Persian wedding tradition representing the sweetness we bring to each other’s lives. We’ve had so many great comments about the ceremony and how personal it was.

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (35)

Other special touches on the day included hanging pictures of our grandparents, who have sadly passed away, in the branches of the trees in the ceremony space as a way of remembering them. We also incorporated a table with a variety of symbolic items in the ceremony space as a nod to the ‘sofreh aghd’, an Iranian wedding tradition.

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (49)

In the evening we put up a separate tent a little into the woods, which was decked out with Persian rugs, cushions and lanterns, where people could go, chill out, and enjoy a shisha pipe.

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (40)

The Garden Station is a beautiful setting for a wedding and is really something special and unusual. We really had a fantastic wedding day there. It’s easy to fall in love with it and for its beauty it is second to none. That said, we would perhaps, only recommend it to couples who are sure that they want to put in a lot of work themselves.

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (47)

The ceremony itself was without a doubt the highlight of the day. It’s the most important part, when we actually became husband and wife and our ceremony was so personal, it was perfect. The evening party tent was everything we could have dreamed of and I remember standing together in the dark, looking into the brightly lit tent, ceilidh music drifting through the night air and watching people dancing and laughing and thinking that this had been the best day ever!

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (51)

For our honeymoon, of course, we went to Scotland in Max our campervan. We had three weeks and used it to circumnavigate Scotland, travelling up the east coast to John o’Groats, along the north and down the west coast, hopping across to Lewis and Harris, Uist and Skye and ending our honeymoon where we met, in Stirling. Given John’s photography ban at our wedding we took my dress and his kilt with us, so our honeymoon turned into a bit of a Rock the Dress tour of Scotland.

A Magical Outdoor Wedding in Northumberland (c) Jonathan Stockton Photography (50)

My top tip to other Brides Up North is to try and enjoy the planning as much as possible. Yes, it’s stressful and it can take over your life, but it’s also amazing and part of the excitement and the only time you’re going to get to do it. More importantly, on the day, really try to stop regularly to look around you, catch each other’s eye if you can and take everything in. This is what you’ve been planning all this time, it’s one of the best days of your life – you’re celebrating how much you love each other and everyone is there because they love you, it’s just so humbling and amazing!

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bohemian beauty. a tipi wedding styled shoot at delamere manor

July 13th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Big Chief Tipis - a Styled Shoot by Melissa Beattie Photography (19)

Brides Up North, you are in store for a very pretty treat this afternoon as we share this stunning styled shoot led by Big Chief Tipis and featuring some of Manchester’s finest wedding suppliers.

Based in Manchester, big chief tipis was launched in 2015 by Hayley Harthern, alongside her father and brother. Even though the company is less than a year old, Big Chief Tipis has 40 weddings booked for its first year and Hayley recently supplied Michelle Keegan and Mark Wright with tipis for their wedding at Hengrave Hall! Impressive, huh?

As Hayley has worked within the events industry for more than a decade she’s built a great network of fantastic suppliers and saw this photoshoot as an ideal opportunity to bring together a handful of such companies to create some incredibly beautiful imagery – and boy have they done good!

Showing how a blank canvas can be transformed into a fabulous setting for a wedding, this shoot features gorgeous blooms, twinkling fairy lights, amazingly styled brides, oh and a large feathered headdress (that will be the Big Chief reference we imagine). We’ll let Hayley explain the rest…

With images by Melissa Beattie Photography.

Big Chief Tipis - a Styled Shoot by Melissa Beattie Photography (31)

hayley says: When we were pulling together ideas for the photoshoot, it was really important for us to use local Manchester-based suppliers who delivered a five-star service or product. We really wanted to shout out loud how fantastic the region’s suppliers can be and work with the crème-de-la-crème to create a beautiful whimsical photoshoot within the surroundings of Big Chief Tipis.

Big Chief Tipis - a Styled Shoot by Melissa Beattie Photography (10)

The shoot took place at Delamere Manor. Based in the heart of Cheshire, the manor (which is Gary Barlow’s previous residence) offers 100 acres of rolling gardens complete with its own six acre lake, luxurious ensuite bedrooms and private nightclub, making it the perfect setting for both weddings and events. The stunning grounds were ideal for our Big Chief Tipis to be erected and were a sensational backdrop for the photoshoot.

Big Chief Tipis - a Styled Shoot by Melissa Beattie Photography (18)

Working together as a team, we took inspiration from both the awe-inspiring giant tipis and the beautiful grounds of Delamere Manor, to create a free-spirited, bohemian theme, to celebrate the beauty and creativity of the North West. The décor inside the tipis was also themed accordingly to give the main tipi a really bohemian, rustic feel, with the baby tipi providing a different look and feel with its Moroccan hues and furnishings – the perfect place to sit back and relax with your guests.

Big Chief Tipis - a Styled Shoot by Melissa Beattie Photography (9)

The beautiful images were captured by Melissa Beattie Photography. Melissa focuses on fine art weddings and lifestyle photography – capturing natural interaction, expression and moments of happiness. Her style was exactly the look we wanted for the photoshoot and complemented the style of the tipis, dresses and theme perfectly.

Big Chief Tipis - a Styled Shoot by Melissa Beattie Photography (54)

Our models from Boss Model Management were styled by the fabulous Maxine Smith on makeup and Vicky Millington on hair. With over twenty years of experience in the fashion and beauty industry, Maxine has made a real name for herself, from high end clients to editorial work with the likes of Grazia and Vogue. Vicky is a professional freelance hair stylist specializing in bridal hair styling, styling shoots and events, making her a perfect choice for the shoot. The hair and makeup was styled to represent a natural and relaxed-looking bride, channelling a boho-chic vibe.

Big Chief Tipis - a Styled Shoot by Melissa Beattie Photography (40)

Big Chief Tipis - a Styled Shoot by Melissa Beattie Photography (37)

The gorgeous dresses were supplied by Jean Jackson Couture, a family run business providing Manchester with the most exclusive bridal experience from their boutiques in both Urmston and the trendy Northern Quarter. They offer bespoke services to design and make bridal dress from scratch, but they also stock a range of beautiful designer dresses and are the only UK stockists of Anna Campbell. Jean Jackson Couture brought with them a selection of vintage inspired gowns and accessories to adorn the models.

Big Chief Tipis - a Styled Shoot by Melissa Beattie Photography (50)

Springbank Flowers provided the stunning florals. I have worked with Springbank for many years and I’m always blown away by their creative flair and attention to detail. Their expert floristry combined with their imagination takes them to a new level. A selection of wild flower bouquets and table centres were provided – the mixture of multi-coloured jars and flowers flown over from Holland were simply stunning and worked beautifully in the woodland setting amongst the trees, the lake and tipis. The bouquets and floral head pieces they created complemented the style of the shoot perfectly.

Big Chief Tipis - a Styled Shoot by Melissa Beattie Photography (34)

Finally the fab light up letters were supplied by The Word Is Love. They provided the ‘DANCE’ letters for the shoot but offer the full alphabet to spell any configuration you like.

Big Chief Tipis - a Styled Shoot by Melissa Beattie Photography (2)

Big Chief Tipis - a Styled Shoot by Melissa Beattie Photography (6)

The shoot went really well on the day – everything came together beautifully and we were so pleased with the overall results. The one thing we couldn’t control was the weather and unfortunately the sun didn’t come out but it didn’t rain, so we were still able to get all our outdoor shots with a lovely ‘moody’ style!

Big Chief Tipis - a Styled Shoot by Melissa Beattie Photography (24)

This was our first photoshoot for Big Chief Tipis and we were really keen to work with suppliers in the North West – there is so much talent up here and it was great to see everyone come together and produce such beautiful images.

Big Chief Tipis - a Styled Shoot by Melissa Beattie Photography (46)

Though in our first year it’s very exciting times for Big Chief Tipis – we’ve just provided the tipis for Michelle Keegan and Mark Wright’s wedding in Suffolk and as a result, have been featured in Hello magazine’s coverage of the wedding which we are really pleased with! We are also providing tipis for a range of festivals this year including Glastonbury, Festival No.6, Love Supreme and We Are FSTVL.

Big Chief Tipis - a Styled Shoot by Melissa Beattie Photography (36)

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to the manor. a pretty, flower-filled teepee wedding at hornington manor – danielle & jack

June 1st, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Colourful Wedding at Hornington Manor (c) Alexandra Holt Photography (30)

When it comes to tying the knot it’s always great if you, or those close to you, have some fabulous skills you can use, not only to save yourself a few pennies, but also to make the day more personal and memorable.

Today’s bride Danielle is a baker, so not only did she bake her own wedding cake, but she also made her guests’ trio of desserts for the wedding breakfast (she admits she likes a challenge). Better still, Danielle’s Aunty is a florist so as well as lots of sweet treats, her wedding day was brimming with beautiful blooms all carefully arranged by her talented relative.

The day as a whole looks like an incredibly loved-up, emotional and fun-filled affair set against a well styled backdrop.

We must also congratulate the happy couple on the fantastic news that they are expecting their first baby in September. All together now…ahhhh!

With images by Alexandra Holt Photography.

A Colourful Wedding at Hornington Manor (c) Alexandra Holt Photography (6)

danielle says: We got engaged at the place where we met! Jack took me back to London where we had met at a student ambassador event. He got down on one knee in a lovely snowy park and I had no idea. I cried. A lot! He had then arranged for all of my friends to be at the friend’s house we were staying a, and they had organised an engagement party to celebrate! Later we went for posh cocktails up a super high building in London. All in all, the perfect engagement.

A Colourful Wedding at Hornington Manor (c) Alexandra Holt Photography (11)

Our wedding day was 23rd August 2014. We chose the date because we wanted a summer wedding and also because it was a bank holiday weekend.

We got married at St Olaves Church in York. We chose it because even though neither of us are from York originally, it was now our home and where we wanted to bring our family up. The church was suggested to us by a friend and we went along to meet the vicar and congregation and they were all lovely. Our reception venue was the beautiful Hornington Manor where we had a Papakata tepee.

A Colourful Wedding at Hornington Manor (c) Alexandra Holt Photography (12)

We didn’t have a themeas such, we just went for a rustic/vintage feel. Coming from an arty background, we made a lot of the decorations ourselves and felt this made it extra special! We chose the style because neither of us really like anything matching, and it seemed to fit our creative personalities. We didn’t have a colour scheme either – just lots of it! Pastels mainly but some brights thrown in there too.

A Colourful Wedding at Hornington Manor (c) Alexandra Holt Photography (10)

I chose my dress from a bridal shop called Elizabeth of York in York. It was probably only the second or third dress I tried on and it was perfect! Lace all over, a long (ish) train and quite fitted at the top.

Jack and the groomsmen wore suits from Peter Werth while the bridesmaid wore dresses from Coast.

A Colourful Wedding at Hornington Manor (c) Alexandra Holt Photography (19)

We hired a vintage cream VW Beetle for myself and my dad to get to the church and the boys had a VW camper van in black. They were hired from LoveDubz Campers in York – the friendliest car company people ever! We also hired a vintage double decker bus for our guests. This was from Yorkshire Heritage Bus Company.

A Colourful Wedding at Hornington Manor (c) Alexandra Holt Photography (25)

Our photographer was an old friend of mine called Alex Holt. She is the most amazing photographer and I couldn’t recommend her enough. She gets shots when you don’t even know she’s there and every single one was perfect! They took my breath away – I couldn’t believe it was our wedding!

A Colourful Wedding at Hornington Manor (c) Alexandra Holt Photography (26)

Luckily, my Auntie is the best florist in the world, so she did my flowers for me. We had a lot of flowers! Mine and the bridesmaids’ bouquets were hand tied bouquets of wild flowers with lots of colours and variations of flowers. Beautiful.

My Auntie also did the reception flowers for me. I went along to the wholesalers and choose hundreds of flowers and then she worked her magic! We had lots of vases scattered over all of the tables, hanging bird cages filled with flowers and lanterns lining the pathway to our wedding reception filled with flowers too.

A Colourful Wedding at Hornington Manor (c) Alexandra Holt Photography (27)

As a baker by trade I’m a lover of all things sweet so for favours I used small jars with lids and filled them with yummy gourmet popcorn then labelled each jar with the guest’s name.

I made my own wedding cake as it’s what I do every day! We had a simple three tiered stacked cake and covered it in ribbons and fresh flowers. I didn’t want to make life too complicated for myself!

A Colourful Wedding at Hornington Manor (c) Alexandra Holt Photography (29)

Our wedding breakfast and evening food was provided by a company called The Hog and Apple. We had a delicious starter of ham hock terrine and a main of roast meats and posh veg! I made the trio of desserts myself (I like a challenge!) and we had mini cheesecakes, chocolate dipped strawberries and tiramisu heart stacks. The evening food was a hog roast which was divine!

A Colourful Wedding at Hornington Manor (c) Alexandra Holt Photography (28)

When our guests arrived at our wedding reception we had a beautiful acoustic guitarist/singer called Jonny Woodhead who played to our guests whilst they had arrival drinks. We then had a band in the evening called The Hot Jazz Biscuitsand they were amazing! We had our own laptop and playlist for after the band had finished. Perfect!

A Colourful Wedding at Hornington Manor (c) Alexandra Holt Photography (39)

As a special touch on the day my family had arranged to let a helium balloon off for my Mum who we lost when I was 18. It was a really nice surprise for me and made the day extra special.

A Colourful Wedding at Hornington Manor (c) Alexandra Holt Photography (46)

Our wedding reception was held in the garden of a Manor House called Hornington Manor near York and it was held in a teepee. The teepee company Papakata were truly fantastic and I would highly recommend them!We would highly recommend both our wedding venue and reception venue to other couples as they were fantastic. Hornington Manor is a great huge house that you can hire out. There are around 16 self-catering rooms where all the family could stay and made the long bank holiday weekend an extra special one!

A Colourful Wedding at Hornington Manor (c) Alexandra Holt Photography (47)

I think the ceremony was my favorite part of the day. Emotional, meaningful and perfectly suited.

A Colourful Wedding at Hornington Manor (c) Alexandra Holt Photography (44)

We went to Cornwall on our honeymoon which was lovely. Jack had hired us a camper van for a few of the nights which was a nice surprise and I then surprised him with a trip to Monza, Italy, to see the Formula 1 (he is a huge fan!) as it was his 30th birthday whilst we were away.

A Colourful Wedding at Hornington Manor (c) Alexandra Holt Photography (48)

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to do as much as you can yourself without causing yourself too much stress! Don’t be scared to shop around either – there are things that you won’t want to skimp on but others that you might be able to get some good bargains on if you shop around!

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breezy boho. a fun filled papakata wedding in north yorkshire – fiona & james

May 18th, 2015 | Julia Braime

a Papakata wedding in Yorkshire (c) Valentina Photography (32)

Today’s wedding couple booked their big day for the middle of summer with the hope of blue skies and sunshine. Fortunately the unpredictable British weather was kind and delivered just that for their teepee reception held at the local cricket ground.

Highlights for us include Fiona’s stunning lace dress and her choice of boho-style, short white dresses for her maids complete with girly gyp headpieces. Ladies you look gorgeous!

In cricket terms we’re ‘bowled’ over by this fab Yorkshire wedding!

With images by Valentina Weddings.

Fiona and James (Papakata) from Bouncing Ball Films on Vimeo.

fiona says: We got engaged in October 2012. It was on a rainy day (as it always is) at the top of Cat Bells in the Lake District. We decided to get married on 9th August 2014. Bang in the middle of summer, hoping for some sunshine!

a Papakata wedding in Yorkshire (c) Valentina Photography (15)

Our ceremony was at our local church, St Radegunds Church in Scruton, North Yorkshire, which we can see from our living room window. We love where we live so it was nice to keep everything local and for our guests to enjoy our fab village. We decided to hire a Papakata teepee for our reception which was pitched at our village cricket ground where my dad has played cricket for years. They were so accommodating and we were able to use the loos in the pavilion which saved us many pennies!

a Papakata wedding in Yorkshire (c) Valentina Photography (8)

There wasn’t really a set style for the wedding. I seem to acquire lots of random bits and bobs, so these kind of became the props for the day – an old vintage singer, a bargain wooden wardrobe my friend bought from a hospice sale and lovely retro marmalade pots.

a Papakata wedding in Yorkshire (c) Valentina Photography (17)

I tried on every kind of style of wedding dress you can imagine and had good old laugh in the process! I found that I really liked lace and something quite fitted. I changed the back of the dress, to have more of a full keyhole style back as it was a high neck and added some onto the length to the train. It felt really vintage and quite a lot dressier than I pictured myself in, but I absolutely loved it. I got it from Charlotte at the Bridal Lounge in Northallerton – I can’t recommend this place enough!

To accompany my dress, I chose nude Hasbeens for my shoes and wore a gyp floral headpiece made by my lovely florist, Lucy. My hair was done by Becca Hunton and Jackie at Lady J’s did my makeup.

a Papakata wedding in Yorkshire (c) Valentina Photography (18)

James hired his and his boys’ suits from Most Suitable in Newcastle. They were grey with a mushroomy coloured cravat and a grey waistcoat. We also had some handmade cufflinks made through Most Suitable as pressies for all of the boys and a pair of matching ‘Happy Socks’.

The girls had short white dresses from ASOS with aubergine clogs from Lotti’s in Stockholm. It was a really simplistic but boho style and they also wore a floral gyp headpiece to match mine.

Our little page boy Archie wore summer tweed trousers, a white linen shirt and braces, all from H&M, with some Saltwater sandals in blue. Meanwhile our little flower girl Harlowe wore a white cotton summer dress from Zara, yellow Saltwater sandals and a floral head piece to match the other girls.

a Papakata wedding in Yorkshire (c) Valentina Photography (20)

We used my bridesmaid’s Dad’s camper, Bertie to transport us on the wedding day. He drove me and my Dad to church, and then me and James to the tepee after the service. A big thank you to Les for Bertie the camper! Our friends also surprised us with a hand drawn ‘just married’ sign and beer cans tied to Bertie!

a Papakata wedding in Yorkshire (c) Valentina Photography (25)

Our photographer was Mark of Valentina Weddings. Mark was recommended to us by friends and we just clicked instantly! He’s so lovely, totally approachable and super creative. Mark listens to everything you say you’d like, styles of shots and compositions you love but equally suggests ideas that he has. We had a Pinterest board going for us both to pin photography ideas to and it’s the biggest photography board you’ll ever see!

Our wedding album, Mark and I designed together, which was great fun. The quality of the album is so high, definitely worth the money! Every one of our guests spoke of how professional and friendly Mark was, and one of our closest friends has already booked him for her wedding off the back of ours!

a Papakata wedding in Yorkshire (c) Valentina Photography (26)

Mark also recommended to us a wedding videographer – Dom at Bouncing Ball Films and Ryan at Riff Raff Photography. At first we weren’t so keen, but in hindsight we are so glad we did. The finished video has been put together and footage edited so cleverly to create a short snap shot of our day. The choice of music was totally in their hands and perfectly suits our day. We have a huge smile every time we watch it!

a Papakata wedding in Yorkshire (c) Valentina Photography (27)

The bouquets and headpieces I chose were all gyp bound by natural garden twine, as were the boys’ buttons holes. We kept the church flowers really simplistic, just small tin buckets full of gyp. Churches have so much heritage and beauty that I think you should just leave them be.

a Papakata wedding in Yorkshire (c) Valentina Photography (31)

In the teepee we had beautiful multi coloured dahlias on the tables in the retro marmalade pots and a wooden crate filled with sunflowers. Again really simplistic but super vibrant creating a contrast from the neutral tones of the bouquets and church flowers. Our florist Lucy Hope was great and she helped with props that we needed too.

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I designed our own wedding stationery, a small booklet invitation with foil blocking detail of the teepee illustration and hand rendered typography. I also drew all of the signage for the day and designed the thank you postcards through my business, Plewsy.

The table numbers were created by hanging old cricket score board numbers from the beams of the teepee, it was nice to have a link back to the cricket club whilst it also left us with more room on the tables for wine!

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I totally forgot about the cake until two weeks before the wedding. Luckily our local farm shop, Springhouse Farm Shop, came to the rescue and created a beautiful naked sponge cake. They delivered it to the teepee on the morning of the wedding. The caterers layered it with strawberries and cream and we had a cake!

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We wanted a relaxed feel to the day and so decided on tapas for the food. Our caterers, Paul and Chris of Indulge in Harrogate, were recommended by a work colleague and again when I met Paul I knew I trusted him to be the caterer for our big day! I had some ideas, but Paul suggested most of the dishes. Canapés were served with prosecco to our guests when they arrived at the teepee. We had crazy amounts of tapas including spicy chicken wings, tabbouleh, vegetable lasagne, chicken paella and chorizo. We served the wedding cake for pudding with berries and cream.

Paul and his team also ran the evening barbecue, serving grilled halloumi, salmon, chicken, homemade kebab skewers, coleslaw and a humongous salad! To drink we went for Rioja and Pinot Grigio for wine on the tables and behind the bar, along with barrels of Black Sheep and Carling (we ran out and had to raid the village pub for more!)

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We booked Goldsands, a local band who we had seen play live a couple of times before, to entertain our guests. They are acoustic and were perfect for our venue. Everyone has said how great they were and they have been booked a fair few times by our guests since.

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We filled my friend’s retro wardrobe that she lent us full of disposable cameras, tambourines, sombreros, maracas, glitter and other bits and bobs! We also managed to exchange some bales of straw for a few free pints with a local farmer for seating outside the teepee! Oh, and borrowed a retro sofa from the cricket pavilion which was perfect!

As a special touch James and a few of our friends surprised me with a fireworks display, along with a life sized cut out of Guy Martin (long story)!

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We would highly recommend Papakata to other wedding couples – Rhian and the team were fab. All the organisation went so smoothly and the teepees are so bloomin’ gorgeous! My favourite part of the day has to be seeing so many of our friends and family together in one place, shaking tambourines and feather bowers on the dance floor!

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We flew to Ibiza for a week a couple of days after the wedding day. We stayed near the hippy village, it was really chilled out, super-hot with lots of beer and sunshine. Perfecto! In the October we used our honeymoon pot (set up through Spear Travels) to visit Thailand for a couple of weeks. We spent a couple of days in Bangkok, then flew south to Krabi / Ao Nang for a little while, then spent the rest of our time on Koh Phi Phi. It is such a lovely relaxed country, with beautiful coast lines and a great culture. We rode elephants, went on long boat trips to four small islands and drank a lot of mojitos!

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My top tip to other Brides Up North is – don’t stress! The best advice I can give is to go with suppliers that you get on with and click with! I did this with every supplier and each and every one worked their socks off to create our day. If you trust the people you book, this will take the stress away from you! Also people don’t notice if there’s a flower out of place or a mark on a napkin. It might matter to you, but in the grand scheme of things it’s not a huge deal. Just relax and enjoy your big day!

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wedstock. a vibrant festival wedding in yorkshire – sophia & sean

April 20th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

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Today’s real wedding takes place in one of my favourite places, Bradfield – a gorgeous little village in Yorkshire that was something of a hidden gem until the Tour de France zipped through it last year.

Clear of cyclists, Sophia and Sean headed to Foxholes Farm to throw a festival themed outdoor wedding inspired by their love of music.

Add some incredible blooms, bright bunting and striking flags to the live entertainment provided by the groom’s band and you’ve got one rocking wedding.

Lets head to the main stage…

With images by Photography34.

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sophia says: We got engaged in October 2012 the Northern Lights while we were in Iceland! Sean really isn’t romantic but this is the most romantic thing he’s ever done!

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We decided to book the wedding for 23rd August 2014 as we wanted it over the bank holiday so people could celebrate and party with us all weekend!

Cressbrook Hall, near Buxton, was our chosen venue for the wedding ceremony. We fell in love with its beauty straight away. It was too small to hold our total wedding though so we opted just to have the ceremony in the orangery overlooking the stunning Peak views. The reception venue was then held at Foxholes Farm in Bradfield, just outside Sheffield (not far from where we live). We loved the views and the flexibility of this venue – it gave us a chance to put our own stamp on it.

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We had a festival wedding – ‘Wedstock’ – Sean plays in a band and we love going to festivals so it seemed to fit us!

We wanted bright, sunny, warm colours to brighten up our marquee and to fit the summer season – so chose red, orange and hot pink. We loved our colour scheme! The colours looked so lovely in the photos.

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I found my dress in Blissful Daze in Sheffield which has since shut down (such a shame as it was a lovely shop). I’m half Peruvian so a Spanish-designed and inspired dress caught my eye and I loved it straight away! When I put it on it felt so ‘me’ and so right! It was by Pronovias.

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Sean and his groomsmen wore grey suits from Moss Bros with white shirts and pink ties.

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The bridesmaids wore watermelon – which is a colour I love (they took some convincing but liked it in the end, Bridesmaidzillas!) Their dresses were from JJsHouse off the internet believe it or not! It was a risk ordering online, but ultimately I was pleased with them – despite being slapped with an import tax I wasn’t expecting – never mind!

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We travelled in an amazing VW campervan called Rita. Grant drove us from Candy Apple Weddings – he only does a few select weddings a year but would highly recommend him!

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Tony from Photography 34 was our chosen photographer. We think Toy is amazing and would recommend him to anyone! His photos are gorgeous. We also had a videographer who was great – Wedding-Cam.

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Our florists were Swallows and Damsons from Sheffield – they were brilliant form start to finish and my bouquet was probably the part of the wedding which most surprised me – I loved my flowers more than I had anticipated and actually feel quite emotional thinking about my bouquet now! They were excellent – again I would highly recommend.

Swallows and Damsons did all the flowers displayed in watering cans and homemade vases alongside hand-decorated candles at the reception. To decorate we also had bunting made my Sean’s amazing mum. And my mum handmade the petal confetti.

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We created a little message in a bottle for each guest for favours. Sean and I wrote a message for each of our family/friends – we just wanted to bring a personal message from us to each of our special guests. They went down a storm and we were told our guests shed a few tears whilst reading them! They doubled up as name-places too.

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My friend Lisa made our wedding cupcakes which were carrot and vanilla. They were delicious and looked beautiful!

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Friends 4 Dinner did our catering. We had scallops and pate followed by salmon and beef, as we wanted something that everyone could enjoy. The food was delicious and the catering was to a very high standard. To drink we had Rioja (Sean’s favourite) and Sauvignon Blancfrom New Zeland (my favourite).

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Sean’s in a band so played the wedding to entertain our guests. They’re called Control Freak and were ace! We also had a magician Ben Z from Sheffield to dazzle us with some tricks. At the ceremony our friend Al sung us down the aisle to Incubus’ If Not Now, When – it’s a very special song and brings a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye thinking about it!

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We would recommend our wedding venue to other couples who want to make their big day personal.

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I couldn’t possibly choose a favourite part of the day – it was all amazing! Being sung down the aisle to our very special song by our friend or maybe driven around the Peaks with my new husband, sipping champagne in a VW was pretty special! Tony found us some gorgeous spots to be snapped. When I look through the photos, they’re the ones I love the most – the gorgeous views with my new hubby!

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For our honeymoon we went backpacking in Sri Lanka. It was so nice to relax after the busy few weeks of the wedding, plus seeing some amazing sights.

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Sean’s top tip to Brides Up North would be to have a proper think about everything that needs to happen on the day, for example certain tracks being played at certain times, music being set up, equipment being in place, and delegate these tasks to a groomsman.

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My top tip to other Brides Up North is to prioritise capturing your special day in as much details as you can, either in photo or video format (or both if possible) as the minute it’s over you’ll want to relive it again and again and it’s nice to have those memories for the rest of your lives. Every year on our anniversary we’ve pledged to watch our wedding video with chocs and champagne! It’s a nice tradition we hope to create following our special day.

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